21 May 2012 PPA Tread Lightly Women’s MTB: What a day it was!
The feedback says it all: “Thank you for such a well organised, great ladies event. I am looking forward to participating in the next one! Loved the vibe and the routes which catered for the different fitness levels.”
Following the success of the first-ever all-female road funride in December last year, the PPA ‘Heels on Wheels’, the Association organised the PPA ‘Tread Lightly’ Women’s MTB, an off-road event for women, focusing for the first event on shorter, less-technical routes that would not be intimidating to newcomers to the sport. Backsberg Estate in Simondium near Paarl came onboard as the venue sponsor, and what a venue it is.
For this first event, three routes were laid out: a fairly tough 22 km route, a 12 km route and a 5 km route. Female cyclists only could enter the two longer routes, while men could enter the 5 km route – provided they were assisted at all times by a child u/12. Just over 500 entries were received, making it the biggest all-female MTB event in the Cape, first-time out.
On the day, some 450 ladies braved the cold and few showers to enjoy the stunning, scenic routes on Backsberg and the neighbouring farm, Neil Joubert. With all the climbing over and done with in the first half of the route, the vibe at the water point at the halfway mark was one of celebration – or was that because participants could choose between Coke, water and … bubbly?
Back at the venue, the first-ever Backsberg ‘Saturday market’ provided great eats – from coffee and croissants to lovely soup, burgers, cheese tasting, tasting of Backsberg and Neil Joubert wines, organic vegetables, lovely plants for sale, and much more.
Marshalling for the event was done by the very friendly and efficient Paarl Rotarians. Thanks are also due to Peninsula Beverages for sponsoring the Coke at the water point and for their assistance; Backsberg and Neil Joubert farms, all the lucky draw sponsors, and everyone who contributed to making the event such a great success.